I got back out and rode again on Friday. John B. and I decided to go do an easy 25 miles. The problem is that what I would ordinarily consider to be an ‘easy’ 25 miles quite simply wasn’t so easy on me. Then again, this was only my third ride on a bike since the Labor Day Debacle, and my first since then of more than fifteen miles (and both previous rides were on relatively flat roads as well).
We started out at John’s, which as a good place to start for any number of good looping rides. The plan was to get out there and then decide whether to do 20 or 25 miles. We headed east at a leisurely pace out toward the Island Home community. We had gone maybe five miles when John saw that one of his musician buddies (someone who is starting to get into cycling) was at home, so we stopped to see if he wanted to join us. He couldn’t, but we stood and talked to him a few minutes before heading out again. I’d gotten a little tight, but was able to loosen up again fairly quickly.
We rode down a greenway trail I’d never been on, saw a ‘castle’ (quite literally – the home is built like a 18th Century castle), and avoided several dogs with nothing better to do than noisily investigate the pair of two-wheeled intruders into their respective domains. At about eleven miles into the ride, John turned and asked if I felt like doing the 20 or the 25 mile route. I was feeling OK, so I said “Let’s go 25. I probably need to push myself a little anyway…though I may regret having said that later.” The good news is that I didn’t regret it…much.
I didn’t really know where I was exactly for a large part of that ride (I think I’d been on those roads maybe once a good while back) until we crossed Chapman Highway. At that point I knew exactly what to expect for the rest of the ride. That was also the point at which I realized that we would have to climb up Neubert Springs Road. At somewhere around ¾ to one mile it isn’t a super long climb, but it certainly is steep enough. I didn’t even try to keep up with John on the way up. We were over twenty miles into our ride and I was already feeling the effects of my cycling sabbatical, so I just settled into the pace I could go and just tried to grind it out.
John had to wait at the top for me, and I wanted to stop at the top for a few moments as well to recover a bit. We started talking about other stuff and before we realized it we’d been standing there for about four or five minutes. Ordinarily that would be fine, but it was a cool day on Friday. We had stood there long enough to cool down a little. This is a bad thing when it comes right before a long, somewhat fast descent. I don’t think either of us warmed back up for the rest of the ride back to John’s house, even with the two shorter but steeper climbs we still had to go up (one being his driveway).
I was sore most of the weekend after that ride, but not in my legs as I expected. No, I was – and still am – sore mostly in my upper back. I guess all of the climbs we did caused me to use muscles I haven’t been using for a while. That’s OK. I really don’t mind being a little sore right now. But it does make me wish that I could go get a massage (which I can’t really do with the plates in my shoulders).